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Durban - The death toll in the Melmoth bus crash at the weekend has risen to 10, KwaZulu-Natal transport authorities said on Tuesday.
“This follows the passing of another young girl, who died from injuries at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital last night (Monday),” said transport MEC Willies Mchunu.
“The girl had been airlifted from Ngwelezane Hospital after being in a critical condition,” he said, describing the news as devastating.
“On behalf of the provincial government, we would like to send our condolences to the family, who have now also lost their daughter and sister.
“We are indeed a province in mourning and our prayers are that we do not lose more lives,” he said in a statement.
After the accident on Sunday, it was reported that 10 people, including the bus driver had died in the crash.
On Monday, officials reduced the number to nine, after it was found that the driver had not died, but was injured and recovering in hospital.
The bus was travelling on the R66 near Eshowe, and was heading to uMzumbe in Port Shepstone, when it overturned and hit steel barriers.
It was carrying people returning from the annual reed dance at the Nyokeni Palace. More than 60 people were injured.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said the barriers pierced the front of the bus.
The latest report from the provincial transport department indicated that the deaths were of eight girls who took part in the dance and two women who accompanied them as guardians.
Mchunu said investigations showed that the bus had been speeding and had faulty brakes.
Traffic officials had earlier stopped the bus in Nongoma and found that its driver was under the influence of alcohol.
“The driver was arrested and detained in Nongoma, and subsequently replaced with another driver, who was behind the wheel when the accident occurred,” said Mchunu.
Government would cover the cost of the funerals. - Sapa